RACE DEBRIEF

    Ferrari have rewarded Carlos Sainz’s fine form with a fresh two-year contract that will keep him at the famous Formula 1 team until at least the end of 2024.

    The Spaniard had a stellar debut season with Ferrari last year, scoring points in all but two races and reaching the podium four times on his way to a career-best fifth place in the standings, two places above team mate Charles Leclerc.

    Last month, former Toro Rosso, Renault and McLaren driver Sainz said he was “extremely close” to signing a new deal with Ferrari, and in the days leading up to Ferrari’s first home race of the season at Imola, an agreement was reached.

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    "I am very happy to have renewed my contract with Scuderia Ferrari. I have always said that there is no better Formula 1 team to race for and after over a year with them, I can confirm that putting on this race suit and representing this team is unique and incomparable,” said Sainz.

    “My first season at Maranello was solid and constructive, with the whole group progressing together. The result of all that work has been clear to see so far season.

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    Sainz took podiums in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia but spun out of the last round, at Melbourne

    "I feel strengthened by this renewed show of confidence in me and now I can’t wait to get in the car, to do my best for Ferrari and to give its fans plenty to cheer about. The F1-75 is proving to be a front-runner, which can allow me to chase my goals on track, starting with taking my first Formula 1 win."

    Ferrari Team Principal Mattia Binotto said: "I have said several times that I believe we have the best driver pairing in Formula 1 and so, with every passing race, it seemed a completely natural step to extend Carlos’s contract, thus ensuring stability and continuity. In his time so far with the team, he has proved to have the talent we expected from him, delivering impressive results and making the most of all opportunities.

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    "Outside the car, he is a hard worker with an eye for the smallest detail, which has helped the whole group to improve and progress. Together, we can aim for ambitious targets and I’m sure that, along with Charles, he can play a significant part in fuelling the Ferrari legend and will write new chapters in the history of our team."

    His new deal brings him in line with Leclerc, with both drivers now contracted to Ferrari until at least the end of 2024.

    Sainz, who has 143 Grand Prix race starts, currently sits third in the drivers’ standings on 33 points, having finished second and third respectively in the opening two races before retiring early last time out in Australia.